The latest storyline surrounding Manti Te'o has nothing to do with the girlfriend hoax or the national title game. After running a 4.82 40-yard-dash Monday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, it is simply about speed.
Speaking in Atlantic City, where he received both the Maxwell Award (outstanding college player) and the Chuck Bednarik Award (outstanding defensive player), Te'o fielded 10 questions, according to a trasncript provided by the Maxwell Football Club -- one of which dealt with the fake girlfriend hoax and five of which dealt with his sub-par 40-time.
"Yeah, definitely," he said when asked if he can overcome the poor time. "I mean, I have another opportunity to run it. That’s what I’m training [for]. I just went back to train. I will continue to train hard and have another opportunity on my pro day."
Notre Dame's pro day is March 26. Te'o said he has run the 40 in the 4.6-range before, and that he doesn't think too much is made of the 40-yard-dash in general.
"I think there is a difference," he said. "I think the 40 time measures what the 40 time is supposed to measure. I think that’s something that I’m going to get better. The only way from here is up, so I’m definitely going to get better at that. I think, as far as play, I think what’s on the film, that’s the play. Obviously, I can get faster in my 40. There’s definitely two things where I can definitely get better."
Te'o said the combine experience was more positive than negative, and he hasn't given much thought to where in the draft he could be taken.
As for how Te'o has dealt with the all of the attention and scrutiny amidst the fallout of the girlfriend hoax, the philosophy has been simple.
"Avoid," he said with a laugh. "Avoid a lot of the stuff. I think [it’s] just knowing what you can control and knowing what you can’t control. What I can control is preparing for the combine. What I can control is making myself the best player, the best person that I can be. Whatever that is, I focus on that."